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Russian activists denied asylum in Sweden: 'We can’t go back'

Rogue Valley

Ruscism = Russian fascism
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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Russian activists denied asylum in Sweden: 'We can’t go back'


Russian citizens Alexey Knedlyakovsky and Lusine Djanyan with their children.

Two Russian opposition activists denied political asylum in Sweden say they fear being arrested and beaten up if they are forced to go home. “You never know when something will happen,” say Alexey Knedlyakovsky and Lusine Djanyan, who fled their home city of Krasnodar in March 2017 after what they say was a campaign of persecution by the secret police. They flew to Sweden with their two-year-old son and claimed asylum. Last month the country’s migration board turned down their request. It said the couple had provided credible information about the harassment against them but decided they would not be at risk if they were sent home. Knedlyakovsky and Djanyan are appealing the decision. “I don’t want to believe in conspiracy. But this looks like a political decision,” Knedlyakovsky says, speaking from the small Swedish village of Storå, three hours north of Stockholm, where they are living. “Our lawyer read the ruling and said: ‘It’s crazy.’ “I don’t want to think about what will happen if we go back. It’s dangerous. There will be a criminal prosecution for sure. And physical violence against me.”

Before they escaped to Sweden, the couple were harassed on multiple occasions, Knedlyakovsky says. In 2013 Djanyan was fired from her job at a Krasnodar university for her political activities and was subsequently unable to exhibit her art in galleries and museums. At one point, when Djanyan was pregnant, a man in a cafe attacked her and accused her of “hating Putin”. On another occasion a woman struck her in a park. Unknown men turned up at the couple’s flat and warned Knedlyakovsky if he did not desist from politics he would be grievously punished. The activist says the threat was real. He points to the fate of another local activist, the environmentalist Andrey Rudomakha, who was set upon by thugs and left with a broken nose and a traumatic brain injury. Rudomakha spent two months recovering in hospital. The individuals who harassed him and his wife were sent by the Russian state, Knedlyakovsky says, which Swedish authorities appear not to have grasped. “If we return they [the FSB] will do something,” he said. “We can’t go back. We are optimists. We will try and find a way to live in Sweden or to move to another country.”

Tangible fear of Putin's Russia.
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